Kamenev was born in Kiev. In World War I he commanded a regiment. He became a member of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) in 1918. In July 1919, Kamenev replaced Jukums Vācietis as Commander-in-chief of the Red Army during the Russian Civil War. Kamenev was a member of the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR from April 1924 to May 1927. He died of a heart attack on 25 August 1936 following the Trial of the Sixteen, incidentally on the same day that Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev were executed. He was not related to Lev Kamenev, who was born Jewish (Rozenfeld).